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Former Chelsea and England captain John Terry has announced his retirement from playing.
In a post on Instagram, Terry, 37, said: “After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided that now is the right time for me to retire from playing.”
Terry played for Aston Villa in the Championship last season, but left after they failed to gain promotion. He had been without a club since then, and turned down an offer last month to play for Spartak Moscow.
The central defender spent all but one season of his career at Chelsea. He made his debut for the Blues as a 17-year-old against Aston Villa in a League Cup tie in 1998.
He went on to make more than 700 appearances for Chelsea. During his time at Stamford Bridge, Terry won 5 Premier League titles, 5 FA Cups, 5 League Cups and the Champions League.
He also made 78 appearances for England, captaining the side on numerous occasions.
In his farewell statement, Terry said: “As a 14-year-old, I made my best and biggest decision: to sign for Chelsea Football Club. Words will never be enough to show how much everyone at the club means to me, in particular the fans.
“Right from the outset they have given me total support, on and off the pitch, and I have a tremendous bond with them.
“We achieved so many great memories together and I couldn’t have succeeded without you. To me, you are the best fans in the world. I hope I have done you all proud wearing the shirt and the armband.
“My club career and heart will always belong to Chelsea, but I am grateful for my loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 1999, which was invaluable for my development as a young player.
“And I also want to say a huge thank you to Aston Villa for giving me the opportunity to play at such a big club and captain it throughout the 2017-18 season.
“It was a privilege to represent such a renowned football club with great fans.
“I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead.”
Terry is rumoured to be going into coaching, wit some reports linking him with a role at Aston Villa, if Thierry Henry takes over as manager.